Disappointed over continuous delay in the release of salaries to the staff of Delhi University colleges fully funded by the Delhi government, the aggrieved teachers hit the streets in the national capital.
Under the banner of Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA), dozens of teachers from different colleges gathered outside the Delhi Assembly on Monday and protested against the state government on the issue.
Despite restrictions on public gatherings in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the teachers rallied outside the Assembly and blamed the Delhi government for this "medically unwise" step.
"We have been forced to stage this protest despite the risk of corona infections and police action. The Delhi government is continuously delaying the release of grants to 12 colleges of the university. The inadequate funds are leading to delay in release of salaries of these colleges' staff," said DUTA President Rajib Ray.
Ray said that the association has already informed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal about the protest.
"We had hoped he would address the matter, but we did not receive any reply from him. So if any mishap occurs, the onus would be on the Kejriwal government," he remarked.
The Delhi government grants funds to 28 colleges of the University of Delhi. While 12 of these colleges are 100% funded, 16 are partially funded by the Delhi government.
The protesting teachers complained that the Delhi Government had been "very irregular with the release of grants" to the 12 colleges for more than a year now, resulting in break in salary disbursement to employees since April.
"Since these 12 colleges are 100% funded by the Delhi Government, the employees can be paid salaries only if it releases adequate grant-in-aid in time. However, not only has the Delhi Government been irregular with the release of grants, but even the release of sporadic grants are utterly inadequate. So much so that in some colleges, employees have been paid only part of their salaries since April," Ray alleged.
Apart from their salaries, the teachers also complained that their employment benefits are also pending.
"It is important to note that the grants are the only source of funding for these 12 colleges. Thus, not only salaries but even crucial reimbursements like medical bills will not be taken up till adequate funding arrives. The arrears of the 7th Central Pay Commission and vacation salaries of ad-hoc teachers for 2019 remain unpaid," the DUTA leader explained.
"Amid the pandemic, the Delhi government's apathy is forcing us to undergo tremendous financial hardships," a teacher from Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College rued.
Besides, the teachers also complained that Infrastructural development and maintenance have gone for a complete toss in the absence of adequate funding.
"There has been creation of no new posts or courses in the last few years because of the shortage of funding," another teacher from Maharaja Agrasen College said.
The DUTA threatened to intensify the protest in the coming days if the Delhi government kept lingering on their demand for immediate release of grants to the 12 colleges.